Skip to main content

Reducing Maternal and Infant Health Disparities

Creating better service, practice and outcomes for healthy Black moms and babies

In America, Black women are 3-4 times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women. The U.S. has the highest maternal and infant mortality rate among comparable countries.

Read more about maternal and infant health disparities

How wayside is addressing maternal health disparities

Wayside Recovery Center understands that the maternal and infant mortality crisis cannot be adequately addressed without understanding and dismantling racism and bias in our medical and behavioral health systems. We also understand that the complexities of the crisis require community-based responses. This means not only addressing the stigma associated with substance use disorders and mental illness, but also recognizing the inequalities that persist across the behavioral health system.

We owe it to the women and families we serve to play an active role in addressing healthcare gaps.

With support from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), Wayside is hosting a free public education Project ECHO series that focuses on fostering collaboration between patients, community and health practitioners to deliver high-quality care to Black mothers, infants and their families.

To receive regular invites about future events in this series, sign up online.

All sessions are scheduled for 12-1 p.m. CST.

*CME available
**CEU available

October 5
Maternal Infant Health - The (W)holistic Birth Experience
with Akilah Whitherspoon, BS, CPFSW, CD, (NBDA) CLC, LCCE
Register Now

Attendees will learn what a (w)holistic birth experience looks like; strategies to educate birthing families, organizations, and communities about the essential elements needed during pregnancy, birth and postpartum to improve experiences and outcomes; and how to use a (w)holistic approach to improve the continuum of care and educate new mothers and birthing people on risk factors during pregnancy, birth and postpartum and how to reduce/prevent them.


October 12
Polling Spotlight: Understanding the Experiences of LGBTQ+ Birthing People
with Carla S. Alvarado, PhD. MPH
Register Now

Attendees will understand pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences of the LGBTQ+ community and identify disparities between the general population and the LGBTQ+ community to build awareness of needs from health care sector and services.

Leveraging Technology to Address Maternal Child Health Needs
Juliette Frazier, MPH

Providing Efficacious Communication of Pregnancy Loss and Reproductive Grief Care
Kathryn Grauerholz, MSN, MP, ACHPN, and Dr. Lauren Rubal, M.D. FACOG

Pregnancy After Loss Isn't Always Rainbows & Sunshine
Stephanie Crawford, M.Ed

Helping Children Thrive: Addressing Health Disparities and Fostering Social-Emotional Development Among Youth in Foster Care
Katie J. Stone, PhD

Reproductive Grief Care: Comforting Those Who Mourn
Sara West, MS-PH, Certified Reproductive Grief Care Instructor

The Black Maternal Health Crisis and How Doulas Can Be a Part of the Solution
Tamara Mason, MPH, CHES

Catalyzing Racial Equity: Elevating Voices, Addressing Depression, Toxic Stress and Equity
Dr. Ebony Carter, Kelly McKay-Gist and Teneisha Parks

Culturally-Sensitive Perinatal Support During the Pandemic
Muna Bashir, MA-MCHS, CD (DONA), CCE (CAPPA)

Pregnancy, Food and Eating for Two
Dr. Sharan Rahman, MD, MBA, NCMP

Perinatal Substance Use & Reporting Laws
Dr. Cresta Jones, MD, FACOG

Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnancy: Beyond the Stigma to Evidence-Based Treatment
Amy E. Langenfeld, APRN, CNM, PMHNP-BC

Doulas Are So Much More
Shanika Clarke and Michelle Henderson

Fathers Are Not Born, They Are Made
Calvin Williams

Transgenerational Trauma
Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji

Fathers and Perinatal Health
Calvin Williams

Expecting and Parenting Youth: An Exploration of Needs and Value Systems 
Tamara Moore

Racism & ACES 
Sameerah Bilal-Roby

Got Chocolate Milk? The Role of Culture in Breastfeeding
Dr. LaVonne Moore

Black Babies Matter
Dr. Rachel Hardeman

Mommas' Reproductive Justice & Police Violence
Dr. Rachel Hardeman

Prenatal Exposure to Substance Use Disorder 
Dr. Judith Eckerle

Infant Health & COVID-19 
Dr. Veronica Gillispie-Bell

Black Providers, Better Outcomes 
Dr. Veronica Gillispie-Bell

The Role of OBGYNS in Advancing Perinatal Justice & Accountability
Dr. Karen Scott

Historical Perspectives on Black Maternal Health Disparities
Ruth Richardson

Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis
Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones

This spring, we will be hosting a training bootcamp for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services, focusing on culturally-responsive care approaches to MAT in working with African American and East African women and families experiencing substance use disorders. This event will be presented virtually in partnership with YourPath Health and with support from the Minnesota DHS.

At the conclusion of this activity participants should be able to:

  • Screen and identify patients with OUD and define evidence-based treatments.
  • Discuss the pharmacology of opioids as it relates to treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) patients.
  • Describe the fundamentals of office-based opioid treatment including the treatment of the co-morbid patient.
  • Explain the process of buprenorphine induction as well as stabilization and maintenance.
  • Discuss all FDA approved antagonist and agonist medications to treat OUD.
  • Discuss basic office protocols including medical record documentation and confidentiality.
  • Utilize evidence-based resources to ensure providers have the confidence to prescribe buprenorphine for patients with OUD.
  • Recognize the importance of obtaining a waiver to begin treating patients with OUD.

Please reach out to Nicole Fernandez at with any questions or to register in advance.

MAT Bootcamp
Thursday, April 21
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Register Now 

DEA Training
Friday, April 22
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Register Now


AAAP is the Data Sponsor for this waiver training. (

Providers Clinical Support System logo

Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by grant no. 1H79TI081968 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.”


Accreditation Information

Joint Accreditation Statement: In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by the American Academy of Addiction and Wayside Recovery Center and YourPath. American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Physician Designation Statement: American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry designates this Other activity (one portion of this course is an independent online activity and another portion of this course is a live face-to-face educational exchange with a clinical expert trained to present this material) for a maximum of 8 (eight) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Nursing Designation Statement:  American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry is an approved provider of nursing continuing education through AAAP’s Joint Accreditation provider # 4008192.  This program is approved for up to 8 Nursing Contact Hours.

 PA Designation Statement: American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry has been authorized by the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) to award AAPA Category 1 CME credit for activities planned in accordance with AAPA CME Criteria. This activity is designated for 8 AAPA Category 1 CME credits.  PAs should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation.






Funded fully through the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MN DHS). Nothing in these materials constitutes a direct or indirect endorsement by SAMHSA or the MN DHS of content, services, or policies.